1. Do you have realistic expectations?
It is unrealistic for a patient to have a procedure and expect to look like a famous model or actress, or to think that having a procedure will change the direction of their lives. Instead patients should seek improvements rather than ideals. We have all been blessed with features that make us unique. Depending on what they are, cosmetic medicine should seek to emphasise the features we like, and to minimise the ones we don’t. Cosmetic medicine does not make us look like someone else. Bringing a picture of a pair of lips that one likes is okay, so long as the patient realises that the surgeon can only work with the raw materials that they have. Even if we could achieve the exact same lips, it doesn’t mean that they would suit the rest of the patients face. Would we then change the rest of the features to suit the new lips? Where would it all end? When seeking an opinion from an expert be prepared to listen to their suggestions, and make sure they listen to yours. Together you should be able to come to a realistic and desirable outcome from the procedure.
2. Are you having the procedure for the right reasons?
Patients present for cosmetic procedures for a variety of reasons. Some feel that it will effect dramatic improvements in their lives, others because friends, families or partners have made negative comments evoking insecurity in the person about their appearance while others are simply curious. Fortunately as many procedures are temporary, if the effects are not satisfactory they will wear off. Regardless of the motivating factors, it is important to remember that cosmetic procedures are a personal experience and should be entered into with realistic expectations. The reason or the result should not come under the influence of others. Do it for yourself.
3. Are you in the right frame of mind?
If a patient is depressed, feeling stressed, insecure or impatient then they are probably not in the right frame of mind for a cosmetic procedure. While the majority of procedures are uncomplicated, occasionally problems may arise and side effects do exist, so being prepared for the recovery period is also essential to a satisfactory outcome.
4. Is your general health good?
The success of any medical therapy is dependent upon the general health of the patient. Even in the simplest of procedures, healing is delayed where underlying medical illness exists. For larger procedures, general good health is essential. Most medical problems do not necessarily prevent a treatment from occurring. Your doctor will advise based on every individual case. However, one thing that can prevent a procedure is smoking. Studies have shown that not only does smoking cause accelerated ageing, it can reduce the success and longevity of cosmetic results. It also increases the risk of complications.
5. Can you afford the procedure?
While finances are decisions of priorities, there is no point in having a procedure if the necessities of life must be sacrificed to do so. Cosmetic procedures are relatively expensive due to the high costs that go into developing medical products to make them safe and effective for patients, into advanced training and high running costs of practices. A patient also must take into account time off work and costs related to complications if they were to occur. Having said this, most patients would agree that cosmetic procedures are one of life’s little pleasures that they could not go without!
6. Have you chosen the right doctor?
When choosing a doctor to perform your procedure, there are a number of considerations. Firstly, it makes sense to choose one that is trained and experienced in cosmetic medicine. These doctors will be members of the Australian College of Cosmetic Surgery, or the Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia. These organisations promote high standards in cosmetic medicine and ongoing training for their members. Secondly, while many doctors can perform a procedure well it is important to ensure they follow up their treatments with good after care. A patient should feel at ease to ask questions at all stages of their treatments. They should feel that the procedures have been explained in appropriate detail and have a sense of confidence with their doctor. A good patient/doctor rapport is essential for a satisfactory outcome.